O F F I C E V A U L T
PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT
PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT
PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT
PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT
PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT
PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT

PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT

What is the POPI Act

The Protection of Personal Information Act (or POPI Act) is South Africa’s equivalent of the EU GDPR. It sets some conditions for responsible parties (called controllers in other jurisdictions) to lawfully process the personal information of data subjects (both natural and juristic persons). The POPI Act is important because it protects data subjects from harm, like theft and discrimination. The risks of non-compliance include reputational damage, fines and imprisonment, and paying out damages claims to data subjects. The biggest risk, after reputational damage, is a fine for failing to protect account numbers.

The way we live is becoming more digital. Our personal information is no longer only in our ID Books and papers kept in a safe. Our core communication, banking and shopping can now be done on digital platforms. Therefore, as businesses, it is important that they keep their client's information protected by law.

The POPI act is an incredibly complex and multilayered set of regulations that ensure that all the information a person hands over to another party is handled with care and not used for malicious purposes. The punishment for not adhering to the Act isn’t simply a slap on the wrist, but could, in the worst-case scenario, result in imprisonment of between 10 to 12 years.

The management of data is a time-consuming and costly task, especially for small businesses with restricted budgets. While for many large corporations that handle an abundance of personal data, such as banks and financial institutions, storing and managing data onsite is the most viable solution. They can afford the physical hardware and the resources and manpower to maintain the information networks, therefore making it much easier to keep up with new regulations.

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